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COVID Back Door Power Grab Biden Pandemic Politics Polls Progressive Racism Reprints from others. Science

Moral Blinding: How the COVID-Prevention Fetish Killed Critical Thinking

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This article was written by Susan Dunham.

Feeling the fuzzies

Our first lockdown was like a great war effort. It was the closest we’ve come to the home-front experience of the World Wars, when people set aside every selfish thought in favor of the collective wellbeing. We ground our lives to a halt in a powerful rebuke against an emerging threat. Heroes emerged, along with new rituals to honor them as we banged pots for frontline workers and decorated our neighborhoods with messages of thanks. Meanwhile, the rest of us did our part: we stayed home. And it all felt good.

Months later, rising COVID cases have plunged us into another lockdown, which in short order has become a practiced routine. After a lax summer and fall season, we slip back into the usual stay-at-home restrictions. We triple our vigilance: we keep our distance, follow the masking rules, and sanitize compulsively. “Be safe,” we wish each other in lieu of the customary farewells. Even the fearless pitch in, because staying safe means preventing yourself from becoming a threat to others.

All of the prescribed safety practices have become part of a new social ritual. Participation demonstrates one’s commitment to the collective wellbeing, which the pandemic has taught us is not an individual game but a group effort. Masking, sanitizing, distancing, and isolating are not only safety measures in the traditional sense but they have also become the new signs of caring. And they are fast becoming a prerequisite for societal participation. No mask, no service says many signs in store windows, big and small.

As Canadians, long-renowned for politeness, compliance under these terms is practically built into the national DNA. Save for some pockets of protests in our larger cities, we have demonstrated a willingness to give up a little bit of our personal freedom for the greater good, and we embrace whatever is asked of us if it can save a life.

But is that really such a good thing? Could it be that our impassioned acceptance of drastic new norms makes us a little too willing to compromise on everything if we can be convinced it’s the righteous thing to do? And has our conscience been hijacked so that we consent to new norms that actually dismantle the progress we’ve made towards a free and open society?

I argue that the COVID crisis has turned a once liberal society into a cult of compliance and that we have sold off an open marketplace of ideas in a bid to secure our safety. In its place we have built a new social operating system that coerces consent and could one day render us incapable of seeing the true effects of policies that masquerade as public good..

Creating tunnel vision

While we were placing “Stay at Home” badges on top of our Instagram selfies, congratulating ourselves for staying inside, The World Food Program — an agency of the UN — was reporting that 130 million more people in developing nations would face starvation by the end of the year as a direct result of the global economy which we ground to a halt. That means tens of millions of additional deaths in developing countries because of lockdown.

At home we knew that suicide numbers must have skyrocketed and that countless unstable home lives turned dramatically worse, while food bank lines extended longer than we had ever seen them.

But rather than these realities sobering us out of our moral stupor, they instead inspired us to double-down on the categorical importance of lockdown, even as we were learning that most people are not at serious risk of severe illness. No cost was too high to prevent one more COVID case.

Months later, with better perspective on the costs of lockdown, we find ourselves in yet another one. Although we entered it with reduced appetite for the same kind of stringency we saw last spring, we have dutifully complied with everything that the case numbers have demanded. We’ve thrown out every skeptic thought, because the unquantified concerns of mental health, childhood developmental delay, economic collapse, and mass death by starvation the world over do not hold an audience more powerfully than the running tally of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

The constant beat of daily broadcast COVID briefings and the bombardment of public health messaging play no small part in constructing our perception of the coronavirus threat. Reshaping our lives to avoid a virus seems logical and inevitable when the only metric we’re allowed to hear is the COVID numbers. How naturally all other facets of life seem to fall away when we are properly obsessed over a single problem to the exclusion of all others.

This curation of concern single-handedly drives our collective reaction to the emergent coronavirus. Our laser focus on all things COVID creates a kind of team spirit in the wellness effort, encouraging our embrace of the pain-loving self sacrifice of lockdown — and blinding us to both its costs and its alternatives.

Affirming the course

By now we should have heard from our public health policy-makers that instead of blanket lockdown, we might opt for a model that is business-as-usual with the exception of a full marshaling of resources aimed at those who self-identify as vulnerable and full support for only their isolation. We don’t question the absence of this suggestion because we have been so locked onto the altruistic idea of self-sacrifice for the greater good that any kind of debate would seem selfishly motivated.

Instead we indulge in the joy of pitching-in and doing good, while remaining guiltlessly ignorant of the fact that history might look back upon lockdown as a devastating mistake. Meanwhile, we collect our CERB cheques and boast about the moral virtues of remaining indefinitely couch-bound. Thus we are placated by a public health policy that we should be debating at the very least.

The great opiate of public health stewardship makes us feel so assured of our righteousness that questioning health regulations is morally suspect. We look unkindly at the oppositional thinker, the lockdown skeptic who threatens to upend the whole care-making experience of the COVID era. Whereas normally we would give skeptical voices vital consideration, especially before embracing the drastic new normal we’ve been handed, we instead condemn them out of hand because we are pre-conditioned to despise their very premise.

Much analysis is given to the pandemic response on the government level, but it is our pandemic response on the social level which will prove the most significant to history, because that is where the true forces of lasting change carve out their legacies.

The on-the-ground tensions between the majority of us who embrace policy and those who don’t is the effect of a social phenomenon which has demonstrated an enormous capacity to reshape our world. What we are gripped by is a peculiar kind of collective blindness disguised as goodwill and righteousness that turns us against all forms of debate on public policy so long as it is positioned correctly.

Dehumanizing the rebel

Toronto’s first lockdown protest in April drew the ire of a vocal majority who denounced participants as selfish, small-minded, ignorant, and reckless. These were anti-science bigots whose ideas literally endangered lives. They thumbed their noses at the new rituals which were meanwhile bringing the city together. The protests grew in number and in frequency into the summer months. Demonstrators were spared no ill will by the court of public opinion. Many commentators openly wished they see their comeuppance in the form of a hospital bed, and such tidings were met with all round applause.

There is no moral standing, as we see it, from which to question the edicts of the health experts. Our enthusiastic focus on the wellness effort has morphed into a complete intolerance for debate on the issue. We are so emboldened by our collective struggle that we feel morally justified in throwing all opposition into the fire.

Thus we’ve become locked into a radical, all-in moral defense of new and unprecedented rules. Such a rabid mode of categorical compliance establishes a dangerous low in our capacity for critically, rather than emotionally, perceiving the issues we face. We now despise rebellious thinking, even if those deviant ideas might be our life raft out of dangerous waters.

While the Coronavirus is often said to have brought out the best in us — with our pot-banging and our well-wishing — all of this team-building has produced, almost by necessity, a dark response to doubting voices.

Silencing doubt

SARS-COV-2 has changed our reaction to voices that oppose the crowd. Whereas in the past, outlier thinking, skepticism of mainstream messaging and policy makers, nonconformity in the face of social pressure were all tolerated if not welcomed, now we deem these things dangerous, not stimulating.

The pain of the pandemic, which has shown us what can happen when people adopt the wrong kinds of opinions, has made us hypersensitive to regressive views on other global issues like climate change, vaccination, social justice, even politics, in which the actions of the individual can affect the group. We have seen the consequence of too much freedom of thought in the form of lockdowns and packed ICUs, and we bristle to think what future crises might unfold if the wrong opinions gain traction again.

So we put extra effort into vilifying harmful views. If we have to contend with freedom of speech and freedom of thought, then we get around that obstacle by making unsafe views so socially toxic that they’re more dangerous for the speaker than they are for society. Be caught courting an unsanctioned idea and get branded an enemy of the public good. Suddenly yesterday’s eccentric thinker is today’s ignorant, selfish, uneducated bigot.

The ideological cooling effect of such a social mechanism is an effective tool for steering opinion and, as the pandemic has demonstrated, behavior too.

Saving face

Universal masking and protocol compliance has been so effectively adopted precisely because it has become socially untenable to do otherwise. To be caught without a mask, that brilliant piece of cloth that shows you care, is to forfeit your status as a well-meaning member of society.

And so we have it that much of the moral fetishization of COVID protocols — the excessive displays of complying well beyond the public guidelines — has become a way of signifying ideological affinity. So repellent is the image of the COVID skeptic that COVID compliance has become as much about self-image as it is about public safety — if not more.

We find ourselves trapped within a new social formula in which conformity is social currency. The more one over-performs the prescribed duties and rituals of the good citizen, the more approval is bestowed, and the more distance the performer creates between themselves and the looming image of the social monster.

In this paradigm, independent thinking — synthesizing available data into more nuanced or perhaps contradictory conclusions — is taboo. The social rewards of conformity far outweigh the immoral stink of rebellious thought. It simply becomes no longer worth the shame, stigma, self-doubt, and the bother of holding and sharing a competing idea.

There is no end in sight to this new model now that we have set it into motion. It has been embraced during pandemic and the gears are already turning to point this machinery towards other global efforts. It is our new social operating system — and it has already proven its capacity to reshape society without limitation. Consider how absurd the notion would have been just over a year ago that it would be reprehensible to be caught barefaced in a grocery store. What absurdities today will we reconstruct as the moral obligations of tomorrow?

We now have a framework for coercing total compliance to new and changing rules and rituals, which need no backing by logic or sense. How many truly contradictory public protocols do we now follow for the sake of optics alone? We jump into the street to give space to fellow pedestrians even though there is no realistic concern for transmission in this way. Proof and reason become redundancies — at most, formalities. If the Coronavirus ever ceases to be a concern, how many people will truly abandon masking when it has become so ingrained as a symbol of prudence and altruism? Compliance becomes its own end when its made synonymous with moral good.

And thus a moral blinding has stricken society. COVID-19 has gathered us so tightly around the bonfire of cooperation, either by conversion or coercion, that we have found no better place to be, and we have lost our tolerance for anyone refusing to join. We’ve completely annexed our capacity to judge what is being asked of us dispassionately, leaving open an unguarded pathway to our consent through both our heartstrings and our self-image.

Losing Control

The foundation is laid for future incursions into our daily normal, which have no hope of encountering resistance. The next radical social change need only be positioned as the next good thing, and even in the mind of the conflicted individual, doubt will be set aside in favor of appearance. Woe to anyone with the misfortune of disagreeing, because an intense, scapegoating hatred for those who do not comply will justify any manner of policy, punishment, and correction against them. And social spoils will await the loudest and most zealous followers and enforcers of whatever new normal the future cooks up.

We have burned our safety net against tyranny. Rather than doing the hard thing, respecting an individual’s right to self-direction even at a marginal expense of safety, we wage war on thought, between right-think and wrong-think, good action versus bad action so that we may burn every deviant in our path.

Sealing our fate

Through a system of self-adulating social rituals, single-minded public messaging, and stigmatization of the uncooperative, we have lost our capacity to see the shades of gray between extremes and to recognize the fundamental merits of debate and the freedom to dissent. We now prefer that every last skeptic be shamed into compliance, as if the benefit of that is worth the cost of forcing a free society into a hive mind.

We have so easily forgotten that it is in the dialectic of competing views — some for this side, others for that side — that we prevent any one extreme from over-dominating. And it is precisely by the moral exclusion of oppositional views that a population finds itself one day in a world it doesn’t recognize.

So while the world stampedes in lockstep towards new extremes of safety protocols, we are in danger of a well-intentioned agenda breaking away from itself and running ahead of its own mandate if there is no one left to one day challenge it.

And yet the average person shakes their head to learn of the latest citizen to defy protocol.

In just a few short months, the old liberal mindset that would have called for a balance between safety and liberty, that would have rejected the idea that science offers only one way through a crisis, that would have accepted the foundational need for some dissent, has eroded into a culture of compliance. To obey is to care. That is the equation that has reprogrammed our social order. And if it might benefit us today, it could more easily hurt us tomorrow, the next time something to which we wouldn’t normally consent finds that tested appeal to our hearts.

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Categories
COVID Child Abuse Drugs How sick is this?

Handing over America’s youth to the mRNA mafia…

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America is now the only country in the world that allows for experimental mRNA injections for kids under 5 years old, and sadly, rather unsurprisingly, a significant portion of my country is celebrating this insanity.

By Jordan Schachtel

The Dossier

America is now the only country in the world that authorizes COVID shots for infants

It appears that the United States just became the only country in the world to “vaccinate” babies and toddlers with COVID injections.The Dossier is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a subscriber…

Read more

The chief pharmaceutical propagandist in the White House has described these shots as “lifesaving,” encouraging the shots for a population that remains entirely unaffected by COVID-19. Whose lives are being saved exactly, when the shots have zero benefit, don’t prevent infect or transmission, and can only increase risks to a vulnerable population?
Yes, you guessed it: Big Pharma is the beneficiary…

And Biotech and Pfizer are trumpeting this in ads promoting that everyone get a booster (and/or the original shots) no matter what their age is and that seems to come from the CDC — until you listen to the tag line at the end.
See also:

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Categories
COVID Biden Pandemic Drugs Reprints from others.

Take that Karen: ‘Natural Immunity Wins Again’: Study Demonstrates Infection-Derived Immunity Likely Superior to COVID Vaccines

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Fireman Jason Wendell protesting against NYC vaccine mandates in Manhattan, New York, on Oct. 26, 2021. (Sarah Lu/The Epoch Times)

By Enrico Trigoso for Epoch Times

Natural immunity wins again

A new study published by the New England Journal of Medicine on June 9 found that protection from COVID-19 via natural immunity was superior to that of two doses of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine after the same amount of time elapsed among uninfected people.

“Natural immunity wins again,” Martin Adel Makary, M.D., M.P.H., a public policy researcher at Johns Hopkins University, wrote on Twitter, referring to the new study.

Natural immunity “protection was higher than that conferred after the same time had elapsed since receipt of a second dose of vaccine among previously uninfected persons,” concludes the study.

Pfizer vaccine protection ‘wanes.’

“Infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) provides natural immunity against reinfection,” the study states at the outset, adding that recent studies have shown “waning of the immunity provided by” the Pfizer shot.

The article uses the database of the Israeli Ministry of Health from 2021 at a time when the Delta variant was predominant, among people who were previously infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus or who had taken the 2019 vaccine.

For those with immunity from natural infection, the risk of hospitalization and death upon reinfection is exceedingly low

“CDC seroprevalence data shows that 58 percent of the public has already been infected across all age groups (75 percent of pediatric population). For those with immunity from natural infection, the risk of hospitalization and death upon reinfection is exceedingly low,” Dr. Sanjay Verma, a cardiologist who has seen a big increase in heart problems since the vaccines were rolled out, told The Epoch Times.

“Therefore, continued disregard for immunity from natural infection is not only contrary to all the published science, it’s an egregious affront to medical ethics,” he added.

“Throughout the pandemic, public health experts have ignored and even disparaged immunity after natural infection, exclusively emphasizing immunity from COVID vaccines. Many people have been unethically forced into unemployment from vaccine mandates that did not accommodate immunity from natural infection. Repeated studies have shown that immunity after COVID infection is comparable or even better than immunity after COVID vaccination,” Verma said.

Epoch Times Photo
Estimated Covariate-Adjusted Rates of Confirmed Infections per 100,000 Person-Days at Risk. (Screenshot of Fig 3 “Protection and Waning of Natural and Hybrid Immunity to SARS-CoV-2,” From The New England Journal of Medicine)

A chart showing the different levels of protection and waning efficacy against infection shows that those in the 4 to <8 months “1 dose + recovered” group didn’t experience significantly fewer infections than the “recovered, unvaccinated” group in the same time frame.

In addition, the data doesn’t show the 4-8 month result for people who took 3 doses.

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Categories
Back Door Power Grab Corruption Faked news Leftist Virtue(!) Opinion Politics

This is what hate and jealousy from Progressives brings you.

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What happens when a respected Congressman is cleared by the Capitol Hill Police when he had a group of his constituents on tour the day before the To do about nothing protest?

They make up stuff and drag his good name threw the mud. Based on what? Who knows. But since that mud dragging we’ve seen that the Congressman has been receiving death threats. Please play the video below.

Despite the letter exonerating Rep. Loudermilk, the January 6 Committee on Wednesday released selectively edited video footage of GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk leading constituents on a tour around the Capitol complex on Jan. 5th.

The sham Jan. 6 Committee did this knowing it was a lie and that Loudermilk had been exonerated.

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Crime

Lackland Air Force Base Under Lockdown, Active Shooter Reported

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Yet another active shooter situation occurred in the United States on Tuesday.

According to the official social media accounts of Joint Base San Antonio — a series military bases located in San Antonio, Texas — an active shooter situation has taken place outside of Lackland Air Force Base.

 

“Security forces and local law enforcement are currently responding to reports of gunshots heard off-base in the vicinity of Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland AFB,” the tweet said.

“As more information becomes available, we will provide updated information.”

Specifically, the shooting took place outside of Lackland Air Force Base, according to The Sun.

All facilities in the area are on lockdown.

A source on the base reached out to KSAT-TV.

According to that source, people on the base have been “urged to take cover.”

It is currently unclear if any individuals have been injured or killed or where the shots were actually fired.

This is the latest in a recent string of active shooter situations.

On May 14, a gunman wearing military fatigues, body armor and a tactical helmet killed 10 people and wounded three others at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

Then, on May 24, a school shooter killed 19 young children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.


Addtional coverage:

Military officials in Texas placed Lackland Air Force Base under lockdown after gunshots were fired into the base on Tuesday morning.

Brigadier General Russell Driggers told a press conference that six to eight shots were fired at about 10am by someone off-base.

Security forces and San Antonio Police Department issued an ‘active shooter’ alert while responding to the shooting and ordered military personnel to remain in lockdown.

Brig. Gen. Driggers said the alert was lifted two hours later, and normal operations have resumed.

“At times like these with the events that have been happening recently, we want to take these types of situations very seriously,” he said.

Law enforcement and security officers at the base, part of Joint Base San Antonio, responded after several shots were heard near the base at around 10am.

Just over two hours later, the base announced it had reopened and there was no longer any threat.

The San Antonio Police Department also issued an update just before 11.30am to say they were investigating gunfire at a gate to the military base on the Medina Base Rd and it was not an active shooter situation.

“Officers are continuing to investigate but there is no threat to the public,” police said in a statement.

There are no reports of injury, KXAN reported.

The initial alert said that security forces and local law enforcement were responding to reports of gunshots heard off-base in the vicinity of Lackland Air Force Base.

Joint Base San Antonio said in an update just after midday that facilities on a large section of the base including the 341st Training Squadron training complex remained on lockdown while security forces checked the area.

It asked military personnel and members of the public to stay away from the area.

Lackland Air Force Base is one of three military bases that comprise Joint Base San Antonio, situated in the suburbs of southwest San Antonio.

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Corruption Food Leftist Virtue(!) Life

Largest Pork Company in the US Shuts Down California Plant Due to High Costs

Visits: 27

Take that!

Who couldn’t see this coming?

Food processing corporation Smithfield Foods will shut down its Vernon, California, plant and scale back operations in California, Utah and Arizona, the company announced Friday.

Smithfield “will cease all harvest and processing operations in Vernon, California in early 2023 and, at the same time, align its hog production system by reducing its sow herd in its Western region,” the company said in a Friday news release.

“Smithfield is taking these steps due to the escalating cost of doing business in California,” the company said.

“It’s increasingly challenging to operate efficiently there,” Smithfield Foods spokesperson Jim Monroe told the Wall Street Journal. “We’re striving to keep costs down and keep food affordable.”

Owned by Hong-Kong-based conglomerate WH Group, Smithfield is the largest pork processor in the country by volume.

Like other food businesses nationwide, the company was hit by a combination of supply chain and labor shortages,  the ongoing record-high inflation, and the war in Ukraine — a major producer of wheat⁠⁠—which sent grain prices soaring worldwide⁠.

Because grain is a crucial ingredient in livestock feed, the impending grain shortage also spiked livestock feed prices, raising the California plant’s production costs.

Adding salt to economic injury were utility costs in California⁠, which, according to the company’s spokesman, were 3.5 times higher per head than those in the 45 other plants in the country run by Smithfield.

Furthermore, according to Monroe, California’s regulatory environment has made it difficult for the pork processor to do business there.

Do you think we are heading toward a global famine?
Yes: 88% (120 Votes)
No: 12% (17 Votes)

The spokesman pointed to Proposition 12, a 2018 voter-approved rule, which mandated that food processing companies confining pigs and sows must have adequate spaces for the animals to lie down and move around.

The regulation effectively rendered confining such animals in smaller stalls unlawful, to the dismay of food producers, who pointed out that the regulation would raise food costs and push up production costs.

In addition to closing down the Vernon plant, the company said in the Friday news release that it would look at “strategic options to exit its farms in Arizona and California” in addition to scaling back its sow herd in Utah.

“Smithfield is providing transition assistance to all impacted employees, including relocation options to other company facilities and farms as well as retention incentives to ensure business continuity until early next year,” the company said.

Smithfield also said that it had reached an agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the International Union of Operating Engineers on shutting the Vernon facility.

“We are grateful to our team members in the Western region for their dedication and invaluable contributions to our mission. We are committed to providing financial and other transition assistance to employees impacted by this difficult decision,” Smithfield Chief Operating Officer Brady Stewart said.

The closure of the company comes as food prices rise nationwide amidst the ongoing baby formula shortage, growing inflation and soaring gas prices.  Adding to the threats facing the nation’s food security is a looming worldwide fertilizer shortage, from which the U.S. is not exempt.

“We are deeply concerned about the combined impacts of overlapping crises jeopardizing people’s ability to produce and access foods, pushing millions more into extreme levels of acute food insecurity,” United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Qu Dongyu warned.

“We are in a race against time to help farmers in the most affected countries, including by rapidly increasing potential food production and boosting their resilience in the face of challenges,” Qu said.

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Education Leftist Virtue(!) Reprints from others.

Move over ACLU, FIRE is the New Champion of Free Speech.

Visits: 29

Article is from TK News by Matt Taibbi.

The expansion of the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education marks the end of an era, when free speech issues were the sole province of American liberalism

 

After years of planning, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, better known as FIRE, announced a major expansion Monday, moving “beyond college campuses to protect free speech — for all Americans.”

FIRE was the brainchild of University of Pennsylvania history professor Alan Charles Kors and Boston civil liberties lawyer Harvey A. Silverglate, who co-authored the 1999 book, The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses. To the modern reader the book reads like a collection of eccentric cases of students and teachers caught up in speech code issues, most (but not all) being conservative.

To take just one of countless nut-bar examples, Kors and Silverglate told the story of a professor in San Bernardino reprimanded for violating sexual harassment policies because, among other things, “he assigns provocative essays such as Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal,” as the court case later put it. This was apparently the “cannibalism” portion of the accusation that he delved into such subjects as “obscenity, cannibalism, and consensual sex with children.”

The book triggered such an overwhelming number of responses from other faculty members and students that the pair decided to set up an organization to defend people who found themselves in tricky speech controversies on campuses. They soon found they had plenty of work and, by 2022, enough of a mandate to expand beyond colleges and universities into America at large. According to FIRE CEO Greg Lukianoff, as quoted in a Politico story, the group has already raised over $28 million toward a $75 million “litigation, opinion research and public education campaign aimed at boosting and solidifying support for free-speech values.”

As noted in another story I put out today, FIRE will be doing a lot of stepping into a role semi-vacated by the American Civil Liberties Union. I spoke with Nico Perrino of FIRE, producer and co-director of the excellent documentary about former ACLU chief Ira Glasser (see review here), to ask what the expansion would entail:

Matt: What was the genesis of FIRE and how has it evolved?

Nico: FIRE was founded in 1999 by two Princeton classmates Harvey Silverglate, a left-leaning, civil liberties attorney out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a conservative-leaning professor, Alan Charles Kors, who teaches the Enlightenment, or taught the Enlightenment, at the University of Pennsylvania. They enjoyed their college experience, but were dismayed by the rise of speech codes in the 1980s and ‘90s, so they wrote a book called The Shadow University.

After they published that book, they were flooded with requests from students and faculty members for help to help defend their free speech, due process, and free assembly rights.

The first case was at the University of Pennsylvania. This was even before FIRE was founded, but it’s the case that inspired The Shadow University and therefore inspired FIRE. There was a student, named Eden Jacobowitz, who was studying in his dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania. There was a group of students outside making loud noises, it was dark out, and he screamed out his window, “Shut up, you Water Buffalo!” It became known as the Water Buffalo case. The students outside ended up being black students, and the accusation against Eden was that he was shouting a racial slur. It turns out that he was Israeli, or devoutly Jewish, and “water buffalo” was a translation of a word, behayma, which in Hebrew means a loud or unruly person. Kors, our co-founder, came to his defense and became a cause célèbre across the United States and vindicating the rights. That set the stage for what we were going to do at FIRE more generally.

Over the years, we’ve defended all sorts of speakers. As you can imagine, popular speakers don’t need free speech protections, so we often defended speakers at the margins. People like Ward Churchill, for example. [Editor’s Note: Churchill wrote a book, Some People Push Back, that described the 9/11 hijackings as “counterattacks” to “genocide,” the victims being “little Eichmanns.”]

We defended a student at Valdosta State University, for example, who criticized his University president’s effort to build a parking garage on campus. A Buddhist environmentalist student who thought the president shouldn’t be encouraging more parking on campus, or more driving on campus, and should invest rather in public transportation. He created a collage that described a “Ronald Zaccari Memorial Parking Garage.” Well, Zaccari was the name of the president, who thought it was a threat, the idea being that the “Memorial” in the collage meant that he was going to die.

Matt: He thought “Memorial” was referencing his future non-existence?

Nico: Yes.

Matt: Amazing.

Nico: He placed an expulsion note under Hayden Barnes’ dorm room door, and told him he needed to be out of the dorms. If you think someone’s actually a threat, you probably don’t slip a note under their door. We ended up defending Hayden Barnes, this is 2007, and taking his case to court and winning a $900,000 judgment in that case.

Matt: Didn’t you also do that crazy case in Indiana, about the janitor reading the book about Notre Dame and the Klan?

Nico: Yes. We defended the case of Keith John Sampson, a janitor at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, who was reading a book called Notre Dame vs. the Klan during his lunch break. He was working his way through school as a janitor. Someone saw, on the cover of the book, burning crosses and reported him to the University administration who found him guilty of racial harassment. The book, of course, was about how Notre Dame defeated the Klan when they marched on the campus. The Klan, people often forget, also hated Catholics, in addition to hating blacks. Someone literally judged the book by its cover. The University found him guilty of racial harassment for reading it. Funny thing is — well, the maybe not so funny thing is — the book was found in the University’s own library.

Matt: Functionally, what is this change going to mean?

Nico: Functionally, we’re getting a lot bigger. This is a $75 million expansion into off campus programming. We’ve already raised $28.5 million of that through a three year fundraising effort. We will be litigating and finding cases off campus. Some of those first cases should be coming down the pipe here shortly. Right now, as of this morning, people will start seeing ads defending a culture of free expression on television. You watch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, you’ll see our ads start running with a high degree of regularity. We’re requesting $10 million in ads through the remainder of the year. Also, there will be billboards across the country in major cities. You’ll see free speech messaging out there. The big thing that we haven’t seen is people out there advocating for a culture of free expression in a visible way. We want to create an organization that people can rally around when threats to free speech exists.

That’s what this effort is about and we want to do so in an unapologetic way. Too often, there’s a lot of throat-clearing before for the defense of free speech. A lot of apologies, it almost comes off as apology for free expression. We’re genuflecting before other values before we can say anything about what we believe is a fundamental human right. FIRE doesn’t take a position on the content of speech. You won’t see us condemn speakers, even the most vile, racist, or offensive of them. For us, it’s enough that the speech is protected or should be protected. We’ll defend it. We’ll argue on first principles. That’s what’s necessary to win.

Matt: This question may be a little uncomfortable: isn’t that what the ACLU is for? Don’t we already have an ACLU?

Nico: The ACLU has 19 different issues in values and defense. It’s necessarily going to be a little bit more difficult for them to determine how they prioritize their work and where it directs its limited resources. Ben Wizner, who runs the ACLU’s Free Speech Project, acknowledged as much in Michael Powell’s New York Times article last year. He said, “FIRE does not have the same tensions.” He said that for the ACLU, free speech is one of 12 or 15 different values.

We don’t have a racial justice program. We don’t have a reproductive rights program. We don’t have a trans rights program. We have a free speech program. We’re not having to deal with the tensions that may or may not exist with free speech and other values. FIRE believes fundamentally that free speech is supportive of all those values, so we’ll make those arguments where necessary, but no, there’s no other values that we have to defend, which makes our work a little bit easier and more focused.

Matt: Last question. Thirty or forty years ago, when George H. W. Bush pointed at Mike Dukakis and called him a card-carrying member of the ACLU, it was pretty firmly understood that speech was primarily a left liberal concern. Is that still true? And if not, is there a perception now that this has become a conservative fixation?

Nico: My sense is that freedom of expression should be core to every political belief. Our ability to express our political beliefs, whole stop, is the thing that makes debate and discussion about all these other issues possible.

I was in a debate with a professor at George Washington University recently, and he was arguing essentially that free speech, all the conversations that you’re seeing in the media about free speech: that speech doesn’t rate when you have, as he was putting it, abortion rights being restricted all over the country, crackdowns on immigration, things of that nature. I said to him, “The only reason those other issues can rate is because we have our free speech right to discuss them.” So freedom of speech is the first right. It’s the matrix. It’s the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.

As far as whether liberals have retreated from the idea? To a certain extent, yes. I think that’s apparent. All you need to do is look at who’s going after Dave Chappelle. Look at the response to Elon Musk’s decision to purchase Twitter. Netflix CEO, Ted Sarandos, I think, told the New York Times recently, that it’s an interesting time that we live in because free speech used to be a very liberal value, but that was when the censorship was coming from conservatives against Black Panthers, against Lenny Bruce, against anti-war protestors, against civil rights marchers, against —

Nico: Ruth Bader Ginsburg said America is nothing if not a pendulum. When it swings one direction, it always has a tendency to swing back. For a lot of America’s history in the 20th century, it was liberals who were being censored, so they care deeply about free speech. Now conservatives see that they’re being censored or at least feel like they can’t speak. So they are more vocal in support of free expression.

Now, whether they’re consistently supportive of the principle is another discussion, as we’ve seen with what’s happened in Republican legislatures across the country. I think the suggestion is they’re supportive of the principle when it’s convenient for them, but that’s why we need a nonpartisan free speech advocate in this country. An organization that is going to, as Norman Siegel, who was featured in my documentary Mighty Ira, once said, “If I’m going to have anything tattooed on my chest, it’s going to be ‘neutral principles.’” That’s really what we’re advocating for here, that freedom of speech is an insurance policy for us. If we don’t defend the rights of speakers with whom we disagree with, how can we expect our rights to be protected?

Matt: Excellent. Congratulations and good luck.

Nico: Thank you.


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Categories
Elections Leftist Virtue(!) Politics

HUGE: Otero County New Mexico Votes to Remove Dominion Voting Systems, Zuckerberg Drop Boxes, and Other Election Machines!

Visits: 7

By Joe Hoft for TGP June 9, 2022 at 6:07pm

(Above Otero County Commission at the beginning of the day making the pledge of allegiance.)

The Otero County Commission had a long day of discussions and reports today and then they landed upon the issues with the 2020 Election.  They voted to eliminate voting machines in the county!

TGP reported this morning on today’s petition to eliminate using voting machines in the county.

After a day of discussions, the Otero Commission voted on the three following items.

The commission voted to pass all three of the above motions.

These commissioners were fearless.  The more flack they got the more they knew they were over the target.  They wanted every legal vote to count.

“We do all want the same thing.  We all want a fair election”

“If we don’t find out what’s going on, we’ll never know.”

Wow, these commissioners were great.

Here is the actual vote by the commissioners:

Major hat tips to Attorney David Clements and his wife Erin Clements and all those in New Mexico who helped make free and fair elections a thing of the future in this county.

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Categories
COVID Corruption Drugs Politics

Same junk, different name: Novavax will pursue indefinite boosting, and there’s no trial data on Omicron

Visits: 14

Prior to COVID Mania, Novavax and its competitors had never brought a product to market

The rubber stamp.

On Tuesday, the FDA’s advisory committee — a concoction of massively corrupt individuals who entertain a plethora of conflicts of pharmaceutical interests — unanimously voted to clear Novavax’s COVID injection on the path to FDA emergency use authorization.

This “expert” panel, which again and again has presented a green light for mRNA injections for young children, has concluded that Novavax’s product is a worthy COVID vaccine. Why? Because they say so.

Should the Maryland-based company receive FDA clearance, they will become the 4th company in the U.S. — and the first since February 2021 — to enter the COVID vaccine government gravy train.

Don’t expect Novavax to be the cure for a coronavirus that you were looking for. There’s several reasons why you should expect this product to work as poorly as the rest of them.

Novavax was designed for the original COVID strain

The Novavax COVID-19 shot was designed in early 2020 and has not been updated to combat any current variants. This is also true for the Pfizer and Moderna shots, which were designed on an mRNA platform, and never updated.

Novavax is not a “traditional” vaccine

Perhaps the most prevalent marketing behind Novavax advances the claim that the product is a more traditional vaccine, akin to an inactivated vaccine that is associated with a Flu shot.

This idea is presented to the public with the hopes that “vaccine hesitant” individuals will take Novavax shots instead of the ostensible more edgy mRNA shots.

But in reality, the Novavax shot does not contain the traditional inactivated virus. It is usually defined as a subunit protein shot.

It’s not mRNA, but it’s also not traditional or “normal” in the sense that most understand.

Novavax has never brought a product to market

Similar to their competitors in Moderna and BioNTech, Novavax has never brought a product to market. That didn’t stop the government from investing $1.6 billion in taxpayer funds in the company.

In its 33 year history, Novavax has attempted to bring a handful of products to market, including Ebola and Flu vaccines, but the company never succeeded prior to COVID Mania. They have zero track record of success, safety, and/or efficacious products.

The Novavax shot, like mRNA COVID injections, has a demonstrated increased risk for heart inflammation

Myocarditis was observed in several of the trial participants within 2 weeks of injection.

Stat News reports: “Five of the cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in the Novavax trial were reported within two weeks of vaccination. One case may have been caused by Covid, not the vaccine, but there were no clear alternative explanations for the other cases. Four cases of heart inflammation occurred in young men.”

Myocarditis is not just a Novavax side effect. It remains a major issue among the experimental mRNA injections sold by Pfizer and Moderna.

Much to the delight of depraved Pfizer and Moderna executives, if the myocarditis narrative can stick to Novavax, it could sink their potential market share. After the FDA advisory committee published their concerns, the stock market reacted negatively to Novavax, despite the green light for an FDA emergency use authorization.

More boosters

Novavax and the FDA panel has already acknowledged that two doses of the Novavax shot will not be enough to “protect” people from a coronavirus. Therefore, repeated boosting is already being discussed as a probable path forward for this latest pharmaceutical.

There is no trial data on Omicron variant

The shot was developed over two years ago, and it has not been tested for Omicron. The FDA said in a statement:

“Relevant data to assess effectiveness of NVX-CoV2373 (Novavax shot) against the Omicron variant and sublineages, including observational data from use in other countries where the vaccine has been deployed, are currently unavailable.

And yet, the stellar advisory committee approved it anyway.

As Forbes reports, even Novavax has acknowledged that the shot may not work as well for the mutation that is actually present today in 2022. The report says:

“Novavax said its vaccine showed ‘cross-reactive immune response’ against omicron and other coronavirus variants, though it noted that the neutralizing response for the omicron variant was four times lower than for the original coronavirus.

Not a cure.

The Novavax shot has been approved in several countries already and their inhabitants have not become immune from COVID-19 or cured of a disease.

Although there are dozens of different COVID “vaccines” available throughout the world, none have demonstrated a discernible difference in outcomes. In reality, this is just another questionable pharmaceutical product that joins the endless and continuing list of questionable pharmaceutical products on the market.

 

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Categories
Life Reprints from others. Uncategorized

Vestiges of Americana fading before our eyes.

Visits: 75

Article first published by Salena Zito, National Political Reporter

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pennsylvania — In truth, the last Howard Johnson’s restaurant closed long before the one in Lake George, New York, did last week. The only thing that particular location had in common with the fried clams and 28 flavors of ice cream the restaurant was famous for was maintaining the iconic orange roof that signaled to families for generations you were pulling up to a place you could trust for known comfort food at reasonable prices.

What began as Howard Deering Johnson taking over his father’s struggling medicine store and soda fountain in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1925 grew because of his keen understanding of what people were looking for. The 27-year-old had vision and understood people. He improved the quality of the ice cream, added well-prepared food for customers to eat, and soon, he went from deeply in debt to flourishing.

Four years later, Johnson opened a second restaurant and was selling his popular ice cream at stands along the beach.

Unofficial official Howard Johnson’s restaurant historian Walter Mann details on his HoJoLand website that Johnson was a bit of a visionary who saw the love Americans had for the open roads and their cars and understood that as the U.S. road system expanded, families would be packing up their vehicles.

And he was eager to expand. “He conceived a new idea: franchising. Johnson talked another businessman into using the ‘Howard Johnson’s’ name on a Cape Cod restaurant, in return for a fee and an agreement to buy food and supplies from Johnson. The idea worked well for both men, and Johnson made similar agreements with others. That was the beginning of restaurant franchising, a system that has since been replicated by countless others,” Mann wrote.

Food rationing dragged the business down during World War II, but Johnson kept the company alive by providing food for military installations, defense plants, and schools.

By the 1950s, there were more than 400 Howard Johnson’s operating across the country and at the end of that decade, and Howard D. Johnson passed the business on to his son Howard B. Johnson. By the mid-60s, its sales exceeded those of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, making it the second-largest food provider in the U.S., second only to the U.S. Army.

So, what went wrong? Why are we not getting ready to celebrate HoJo’s 100 years of existence in 2025? Howard D. had done everything right despite inheriting a deeply-in-debt business, a stock market crash, a Great Depression, food shortages, and a war throwing land mines in his direction every few years. And he had developed a brand that was trustworthy, visually recognizable from a mile away, and located on just about every road in America, along with all the turnpikes and highways.

Sort of reminds you of another American company — Sears and Roebucks — which by all accounts should have been the Amazon of today and is instead languishing in bankruptcy and a shell of what it once was.

Sears was the quintessential American company the catalogs of which defined what we wore, what appliances and tools we used, and what we wanted for Christmas. It also fixed our cars, sold us tires, and would send us plans and all the supplies needed to build our homes.

It knew everyone’s address because of the Wish Book, and its stores, large and small, were located on everyone’s Main Street business district or in suburban malls.

There is no reason at all why Sears could not be the Amazon of today. It had the footprint in the public’s hearts and in their backyards to make that happen, beginning with customer trust, information, and access.

In the same thinking, there is no reason why Howard Johnson’s could not still be delighting parents with crispy fried oysters while their children decided which of the over two dozen ice cream flavors they would soon be devouring. It didn’t have to be this way, and yet here we are.

What made Sears great were the innovators who created it. Sears began as a mail-order watch company, then morphed into a mail-order operation that sold a variety of household essentials at a discounted price to rural areas — think farmers, small towns, and villages — who had little access to retail stores.

Richard W. Sears understood customers’ needs because he understood and experienced their challenges, which is easy when you come from Stewartville, Minnesota, the population at the turn of the 20th century which was under 800. You are in touch with the customer when you are the customer. In short, he was able to put himself in their shoes.

Howard D. Johnson, a World War I veteran who inherited his father’s soda shop in Quincy, Massachusetts, knew people. Despite failing a lot more times than succeeding in his early days, he never stopped trying, innovating, and learning what his customers wanted.

The beginning of the end for both companies began as they kept getting sold and resold and sold again to venture capital groups the operators of which never once ate at a HoJo’s or bought Sears auto parts to fix their car or had their children circle what they wanted for Christmas in the Wish Book. When you share little in common with your customers, then how do you innovate to keep them and their children?

The public loves nostalgia. It would have loved to bring its children or grandchildren to the same place their parents took them on their way to the shore. They also love consistency. You knew what you got and where to go to get it every time you walked into a Sears.

Last week was more than just the end of Howard Johnson’s. It marked one more place in our culture that lost touch with its customers because the owners had little in common with them. In short, they lived in the super ZIP codes of this country and ate and shopped in a universe far different than their customers. They still made money whether anyone came to shop or eat.

And unlike many of us did not mourn when someone turned the lights off for the last time in Lake George.

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